60 seconds with Northern Exposure

Harking from the UK’s very own City of Culture, Hull, King’s Horses blaze buzzing, melodic alternative rock, deep bass grooves and obscure, poetic lyrics. They comprise of three good mates– Ellliot Mann, Chris Arksey and Matt Barratt – who discovered they shared a mutual love of alt-rock while working together on the 9 to 5. With an EP Live Wires under their belts and a new single Touch Tight released now they are bringing their own brand of alt rock to the world beyond Hull.

I caught up with Matt to find out a little more about the fledgeling yet fabulous King’s Horses – can’t wait to see them head our way soon!

Tell us about yourself…

Well, we’re three work friends (Matt – vocals and guitar, Elliot – bass and Chris – drums) who work for a large creative marketing agency in Hull. Being as we’re creative types we eventually discovered we all played and were heavily influenced by (good) music. It became a no-brainer to book a rehearsal room and start messing about.

Who are your major influences and inspirations, and why?

Like I’m sure all bands say we have such a varied taste. Some of our influences crossover, like the usuals: The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin etc, etc. But we all have other bands we love. Matt loves Blur, Interpol, Metronomy. Elliot is a big fan of Palace, Leif Erikson and Queens of the Stone Age and Chris digs Wild Beasts, Parquet Courts and D.D.Dumbo. (Have we referenced enough cool bands yet?)

All three of us are massive fans of Mac DeMarco though. He just embodies everything we love. Great songs, melodies, that DIY/Garage sound and he doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Sum up the band in five words…

Melodic. Varied. Funny. Rocking. Thankful!

Who writes your songs?

Matt writes the songs.

What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?

There are no real set themes as such. We have songs about Hull folk losing their lives at sea, cringeworthy overbearing bosses and getting your head kicked in by ‘wrong uns’. It’s a bit off-putting when you hear a great band with obvious or cliched lyrics so we try and steer clear of that where we can. We try and to be as obscure, poetic and humorous as possible. We’re not The Darkness though – it has to be subtle humour.

Who is your favourite unsigned/underground band at the moment and why?

There are so many cool bands in Hull at the moment. We’re big fans of The Hubbards, Black Delta Movement and Black Lime. Fonda 500 are firm favourites – I’m not sure you’d class them as underground though.

What’s in your CD player right now or the last song you streamed?

CD player is Harry Nilson – Volume 1 bought for a quid from a charity shop. The last song streamed is The Pit by Public Service Broadcasting.

What are you like live?

We have a bit of a mixed style. Some laid back mid-tempo songs mixed with some rocking banging numbers. We try to be relaxed as possible, try and talk to the crowd as natural as we can. No egos, no acting cool -we just try and win people over with the music

Do you have any upcoming shows?

We just did a stripped back acoustic set at The Head of Steam in Hull on Thursday 14th September. Then we’re back in the studio recording some new material. We’re quite casual about gigs – we don’t fill the diary too much. We seem to get gigs as we go along.

You’re stranded on a desert island and have one album with you, what is it?

Plastic Beach by Gorillaz would be a good one. Interesting, varied with some real bangers.

What’s on the horizon, and what can we look forward to from you?

More recording. We have so many new numbers we need to record and rehearse for our live set. We’re trying to evolve our sound a little, get a bit more interesting. We’ve got six songs on iTunes and Spotify. I think we’re getting better at playing and recording together.

Quick-fire Questions: Matt Barratt


BASE – Hull


GUILTY PLEASURE – Dolce Vita by Ryan Paris

HERO – Bill Murray

VILLAIN – Any one on Mock the Week

BEST COMEDY SHOW – I’m Alan Partridge and/or The Office

THREADS –Farah and Levis

TROTTERS –Clarks Originals

AT THE BAR – Brew Dog

GIG YOU WISHED YOU’D BEEN AT – The Beatles’ roof top gig in ’69. It was their last and not many people saw it.

FILM – Ghostbusters

SOUNDTRACK – Hans Zimmer – Inception

TOP 3 TUNES OF ALL TIME – Beetlebum – Blur, Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles, Chamber of Reflection – Mac Demarco

TOP OF THE POPS – Shit, underground, shame.

THREE WORDS – Original. Melodic.Tryers.

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